Starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, Grease was one of my favourite films growing up; and Summer Nights one of the first singles I ever bought. So this musical had a lot to live up to.
And it did the job. A colourful riot of youthful energy, attitude and talent filled the stage from the start as groups of greasers, rockers and preppies stormed the set singing Grease is The Word. We knew from the start this was going to be good.
Telling the story of a group of kids growing up together at Rydell High – The Burger Palace Boys (the T Birds in the film) and The Pink Ladies – the essence of this stage show is more gritty than the bubblegum Hollywood version of events, going back in parts to the original early 1970s stage show script.
But the underlying the story is still the same. Innocent pretty girl Sandy falls in love with leather-jacket-toting tough guy Danny….but the road to romance is a rocky one.
Dan Partridge and Martha Kirby play excellent leads and deliver their solos perfectly…notably ‘Sandy’ and ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’.
The rest of the gang rock the stage in their roles too… Louis Gaunt as Kenickie, Natalie Woods as Jan, Ryan Anderson as Roger (we absolutely loved Jan and Roger’s Mooning duet) Eloise Davies as a naive and well meaning Frenchy, Tara Sweeting as Marty, Damian Buhagiar as Sonny, Rihanna-Louise McCaulsky as Rizzo, Jordan Abey as Doody and Jessica Croll as Patty. Darren Bennett is marvellous as Vince Fontaine, whipping up a frenzy on stage (and in the audience) in an energetic and funny display (albeit with its slightly sleazy edge!)
The rest of the cast – every single one of them – played their part with zest, believability, excellence and charm. The sizzling stage wouldn’t have been the same without any one of them.
Clever choreography by Arlene Phillips left us breathless. It was acrobatic and authentic and – like a well oiled machine – everyone somehow managed to stay in perfect time with one another, despite some routines being exceptionally furious and fast-moving.
The whole show fizzled and sizzled with energy Grease certainly was ‘electrifying’ and we loved it.
It’s on at the Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff until October 19. For more information visit www.wmc.org.uk